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Bumpers

Bumpers

Have you ever tried bowling? I went bowling recently with the Rainbow Party gang, and it was fucking magical. I realise these things are probably mundane for humans but for someone like me – I’ve never seen bowling before. It took me a little time to get it. I was starting at zero you see, so they understood that, treated me like a toddler and put the bumpers up at the sides.

The bumpers are these funky little bounce pads that pop up and stop the bowling ball from dropping into the gutter. Every ball you roll down the alley is pretty much guaranteed to strike a pin. It’s up to the bowler still to make sure the power and general direction is right, but those bumpers ensure at least some points on the board.

As a newbie, in need of guidance, that was fucking great. But it wasn’t long before I outgrew the bumpers, and I was hitting pins on my own without any help.

Strikes and spares all over the place. Because I learned that guidance is exactly that. A guiding hand when you need one.

Banzan, you have offered your guidance to many people within these hallowed walls – oh yeah, I’ve done my digging. Aesop, Sweet Alice, Tenchu. People who looked to you as their guiding hand – you were the bumper that kept them from gutterballing their life. But the fucking problem was, Banzan, that they stayed too long under that wing of yours, the guiding hand became a crutch that they couldn’t help but lean on.

So they kept up the bumpers, and they kept rolling pearoller after pearoller, hitting a pin or two and proclaiming it victory. And when you were no longer there to protect them, and the bumpers were lowered, they couldn’t help but roll their own ball into the gutters of OSW history, could they?

Shit, they never stood a chance. They were like a permanent toddler, never encouraged to walk on their own. That’s on you.

But me, I take the minimum help I need and then I nope the fuck out. I stay not a second longer under the guidance of another than I need to. So if you have answers about this fucking thing inside of me, I’ll maybe use the bumpers for a frame or two just to guarantee a hit, but then they’re straight back down and I’ll be back to strikes and spares before you know it.

I won’t end up like the others, buried under your hubris. I want more than just points on the board. And you would do well to take my advice too. For all of that hubris, you’ve still not realised that you have your own bumpers up, Banzan. If you didn’t you wouldn’t be stuck in this same old routine of rolling for a new protégé and just hoping to strike it lucky. But you’ll never strike it lucky as long as you keep those bumpers up.

Just let ’em down. Sometimes it’s fun to live a little fast and loose.

So let’s do it now, and do it loud!